As her voice grew louder, and her tone more stern, the gate agent got my attention. I was sitting in a freshly emptied airport departure lounge while on layover, listening to her deal with a travel-challenged passenger.
"This isn't your flight. You're two hours early. Come back later," she exasperated.
The passenger said something I couldn't hear, and the gate agent said, loudly, "No, you're in a different time zone now. Come back later."
I turned, and saw the passenger pick up her bag and leave. So I caught the agent's attention and said, "Can you tell me what year it is?"
Anger came to her face. She stepped out from behind the counter, walked rapidly towards me and as her grimace turned to a smile, she playfully slapped my shoulder.
"Gotcha," I said.
"You did! But it's my first day back from vacation…"
Fun is very important, especially at airports. When we travel for work, feelings of loneliness can make trips burdensome. Finding fun, amusement, or connection can help. Here are some ideas.Fun is very important,
especially at airports
- Do something unusual
- Whether it's an architecture tour or a nap, planning ahead helps. But sometimes only the locals know the real gems. Get suggestions from hotel staff — and not just the concierge.
- Bring portable activities
- Many bring reading, but consider alternatives: puzzle books, a harmonica, knitting, even your bills or taxes.
- Find group activities
- Perhaps an organization you belong to has a chapter at your destination. Attend a meeting. Check out houses of worship — they might have a social event.
- Friends and colleagues
- Contact people you know who live near your destination, or who might be there when you are. Find out if they know anyone else there. Expand your network and have fun doing it.
- Let go of the home office
- Learn how not to fret about what's happening back there. Delegate authority — really. Limit contact with the people in charge while you're away.
- Stay in touch with loved ones
- Call home often. Tell them you miss them and feel the love. If you're away for a while, consider a videoconference with your family. Use the company conference facility or a public facility such as an incubator.
- Live well
- To stay in top condition, treat yourself right. Don't skimp on lodgings, especially if you're away for a while. Find out in advance about exercise facilities.
- Eat right for you
- Restaurants tend to offer food that's memorable, which means it's often very different from your normal fare. Instead, keep to your usual diet as much as possible.
- Bring small things from home
- Bring your slippers or a favorite T-shirt for relaxing. Read your hometown paper or listen to hometown radio on line.
Maybe you're reading this on a trip. What can you do differently right now? Top Next Issue
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Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Emotions at Work:
- Never, Ever, Kill the Messenger
- If you're a manager in a project-oriented organization, you need to know the full, unvarnished Truth.
When you kill a messenger, you deliver a message of your own: Tell me the Truth at your peril. Killing
messengers has such predictable results that you have to question any report you receive — good
news or bad.
- When Naming Hurts
- One of our great strengths as Humans is our ability to name things. Naming empowers us by helping us
think about and communicate complex ideas. But naming has a dark side, too. We use naming to oversimplify,
to denigrate, to disempower, and even to dehumanize. When we abuse this tool, we hurt our companies,
our colleagues, and ourselves.
- A Guide for the Humor-Impaired
- Humor can lift our spirits and defuse tense situations. If you're already skilled in humor, and you
want advice from an expert, I can't help you. But if you're humor-impaired and you just want to know
the basics, I probably can't help you either. Or maybe I can...
- Irrational Self-Interest
- When we try to influence others, especially large groups or entire companies, we sometimes create packages
of incentives and disincentives that are intended to affect behavior. These strategies usually assume
that people make choices on rational grounds. Is this assumption valid?
- Why Scope Expands: I
- Scope creep is depressingly familiar. Its anti-partner, spontaneous and stealthy scope contraction,
has no accepted name, and is rarely seen. Why?
See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming March 29: Time Slot Recycling: The Risks
- When we can't begin a meeting because some people haven't arrived, we sometimes cancel the meeting and hold a different one, with the people who are in attendance. It might seem like a good way to avoid wasting time, but there are risks. Available here and by RSS on March 29.
- And on April 5: The Fallacy of Division
- Errors of reasoning are pervasive in everyday thought in most organizations. One of the more common errors is called the Fallacy of Division, in which we assume that attributes of a class apply to all members of that class. It leads to ridiculous results. Available here and by RSS on April 5.
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